Mario Batali, the renowned chef and even more renowned fan of meat -- particularly pig -- has done the unthinkable: He's joining the Meatless Monday movement.
An article published Wednesday in the Washington Post profiles the about-face from the ruddy restaurateur and showcases the chef's shift:
The famously rotund and infamously gluttonous chef-restaurateur is to pig what the Beatles are to rock-and-roll. Batali, a rock-star chef if there ever was one, has changed the way Americans eat pork, introducing us to cured lonza, guanciale and lardo, which he once described to the New Yorker magazine as "the best song sung in the key of pig."
And yet this month, Batali announced that he would join the Meatless Monday campaign, a movement backed by a broad array of public-health advocates, animal welfare activists and environmentalists that asks carnivores to give up meat one day a week. Each of Batali's 14 restaurants, which include the meatily named Bar Jamon in New York and Carnevino in Las Vegas, offers two vegetarian entrees on Mondays, highlighted with an "MM" logo.
Batali is one of the movement's latest and most high-profile supporters. But on the vegetable front, he is hardly a pioneer. Baltimore City Public Schools launched meatless Mondays for its 82,000 students in October. Thirty-two U.S. hospitals have signed on to the Balanced Menu Challenge, a commitment to reduce meat purchases by 20 percent. This spring, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors approved a resolution calling on schools, restaurants and stores to offer meatless options, and the state of Michigan held a one-day "Meatout" during which residents were encouraged not to eat meat.
The article goes on to discuss how the growth in popularity of Meatless Monday -- which we've previously covered here as well -- is giving the meat industry the fits. It's definitely worth a read.